From the National Geographic Endeavour in the Galapagos
Dec 12, 2012 - National Geographic Endeavour
Santa Cruz Island (Dragon Hill & Eden)
We arrived at the uninhabited side of Santa Cruz and began our expedition with a dry landing in a search for the land iguanas of this archipelago. As we explored the area a brackish water lagoon was found with some flamingos in it. These pink birds in the middle of a barren rusty terrain were just breathtaking to spot.
We entered the incense tree forest and were accompanied by the singing of some ground finches and Galapagos flycatchers. Soon we got to the nesting ground of these yellow dragons of the Galapagos, where we saw about some individuals shading under the prickly pear cacti.
The morning was heating up as the strong equatorial sun was rising higher above us. It was a great time to get in the water and enjoy some refreshing and wonderful snorkeling around Guy Fawkes Islets (satellite islets of Santa Cruz). Eagle rays and marbled rays were seen during the snorkeling outing, as well as some tropical fish and sea lions playing with our guests in the water, inviting them to stay in their blue ocean for a joyful time between sea lions and humans.
During the afternoon we took Zodiac rides along Eden Islet, where shore birds were seen, some of them resting on the tuff cones, showing their blue feet in the case of the blue footed boobies or nesting on the bushes like a couple of great blue herons we spotted. Pacific green sea turtles were swimming around the inlets surrounded by mangroves, providing a great nursery for juvenile of marine life in the area.
Later on we enjoyed a wonderful navigation around Daphne Major Islet with a nice glass of champagne in hand. We learned a lot about the study of Darwin finches, nowadays being done by a couple of British scientists on this islet.